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Grandia II Reviewed by Frank Blazejewski on . Rating: 92%
Grandia II
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From what I've gathered, Grandia II is supposed to be the original Grandia's substandard kid brother. Sure, it's great and all, but it doesn't quite fill the shoes of Grandia. That's not quite fair, because from what I hear from the Saturn import freaks (I've never actually played the original I am sorry to say) those particular shoes must be novelty clown-sized clod-hoppers, since that game was freaking legendary. So, to be fair, what we have here is a kick-ass traditional RPG that every Dreamcast enthusiast should own and treasure regardless of the snide remarks of those jaded import-loving bastards who played the original.

Graphically, although the character models look mildly dated, the textured environments are so impressive, they almost feel contemporary with today's next-gen consoles. Some truly impeccable production values. Also, while the broader plot is a bit clich? (the epic forces of good and evil and dude with sword takes on dark lord of all that is nasty concept should be familiar with anyone who has played a Zelda game) the execution of the story and it's various subplots/twists keep you enthralled. Really, there's some gripping, intriguing themes interwoven into your on-the-surface generic sounding quest, including the prejudice you face being a lowly dishonorable "Geohound", the relationships you have with your allies, and the way there's always something horribly evil brewing deep inside each town you arrive in. The fact that the convincing dialogue ( no laughable Engrish translations) and voice acting portrays likeable characters you genuinely care about doesn't hurt either.

Of course, the most engaging aspect of Grandia II has to be its combat system. Pseudo-turn-based, very methodical, and hecticly fun, you're given various attack options that make you weigh the force and accuracy of your strategy with all sorts of fighting-game style countering and time-precision. It's hard to describe, but the way it blends turn-based brain-flexing tactics and a sense of "real-time" is profound.

Some may have a problem with Grandia II's lack of "modernness" or lack of pedantic customization of characters found in uber-heavy RPG's usually played in messy basements or on PC's (Morrowind this is not). Some may have a problem with it's general plot, which as I've stated before, is a tad generic. Some may have a problem with it just because it's a sequel to a really awesome game, and people have trouble dealing with that.But overall, I, personally, find it to be one of the most intriguing traditional RPG's I've ever played, it's definitely something you should have in your collection!
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